Meet Korg’s new hardware groovebooxes: Volca Drum and Volca Modular

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Who wouldn’t want to play with one of these little tykes?
Who wouldn’t want to play with one of these little tykes?
Photo: Korg

Hey, iOS musicians. Not just you, in fact: Hey anyone who likes fun! Meet Korg’s new music-making boxes, the Volca Drum and the Volca Modular. They’re new additions to the Volca family of paperback-size music machines that hook up together or work alone. And they work great with your iPad or Mac, if you like.

Ranking all the major hardware Apple released in 2018 [Cult of Mac Magazine No. 277]

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Cult of Mac Magazine No. 277
Ranking Apple's hardware releases in 2018.
Cover: Marty Cortinas/Cult of Mac

It’s been one heck of a busy year for Apple, and we’ve got the devices to prove it! Truth be told, despite Apple’s fluctuating share price, this has been one of the company’s best years in a while for hardware. What was the cream of the 2018 Apple crop? Here’s how we rank Apple’s major new product launches for 2018.

Find the best goods from 2018 and learn how to set up all your new hardware in the latest free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Get it now on iTunes, or keep reading for the week’s best Apple news, reviews and how-tos.

How to use a USB-C hub with the 2018 iPad Pro

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Any USB-C hub will work with your iPad Pro, but they all have really short cables.
Any USB-C hub will work with your iPad Pro, but they all have really short cables.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The only concrete advantage of USB-C over Lightning in the new iPad — so far — is that you can pick up pretty much any USB-C hub and use it with the iPad. Previously, you had one choice if you wanted to plug USB devices into your iPad — Apple’s Lightning-to-USBC camera connector.

The choice is way wider for 2018 iPad Pro owners. And while plugging in a USB-C hub is easy, there are a few things to watch out for. Let’s take a look at those, and see what you can use the hub for.

This leather shield for your AirPods is a travel must have

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AirSnap is a travel must have, protecting your AirPods from theft, damage, and debris.
AirSnap's gorgeous leather armor protects your AirPods from theft, damage, and debris.
Photo: Twelve South

Find My AirPods isn’t your only line of defense against a lost AirPod catastrophe anymore. Twelve South’s AirSnap is a full-grain leather case tailored to protect your AirPods while also keeping them close at hand.

AirSnap protects both your AirPods and charging case from getting nicked, scratched and dirty while floating around your desk, computer bag, or purse. Plus, it’s available at the Cult of Mac Watch Store just in time to make a great stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Black Friday doesn’t end on Friday [Deals]

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Noise cancelling headphones
Get more stuff done with these highly-reviewed noise-cancelling headphones.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Black Friday’s gone but the deals aren’t. If you survived the chaos of Black Friday 2018, you can shop today for killer deals on apps, courses and gear — right from the safety of your home.

Be sure to click on the collection links at the end of each section to catch more great deals on hardware, software and educational bundles. And don’t forget to use the discount codes for extra savings.

The iPad needs a new kind of USB-C dock [Opinion]

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Friends don’t let friends get to this stage.
Friends don’t let friends get to this stage.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a new 2018 iPad Pro, then you probably need a new USB-C hub. Without it, you can only plug in one accessory at a time, and that includes the charger. With a hub, you can plug in an almost unlimited number of USB devices (and other gear), plus provide power for everything at the same time.

The problem is, almost all USB-C docks are designed for laptop computers like the MacBook. They’re designed with short tails so they can sit on a desk next to the MacBook’s desk-level USB-C port, and plug in without trailing a long cable all over the place. But these short tails are terrible for the iPad — especially if you use the tablet on a stand.

They result in a dongle dangling from the iPad, trailing all the cables and accessories hooked up to the hub. This puts a strain on the USB-C port, and reduces mobility for the iPad. It also looks ridiculous. Ditto those docks that clip to the iPad itself. They’re a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, I have a better idea.

AirFly upgrades your ears to first class

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AirFly brings pristine wireless listening to any and every location.
AirFly brings pristine wireless listening to any and every location.
Photo: Twelve South

Got a long flight home this holiday season? Wish you could listen to in-flight TV with your AirPods? Want to hear the gym cardio machine’s TV audio with your wireless headphones?

Now you can, thanks to Twelve South’s AirFly — a tiny device that connects wireless headphones to wired audio jacks on planes, in fitness centers and anywhere else wired headphones were previously required. Just pair your wireless headphones with AirFly, plug it into the headphone jack, and you’re ready.

This wondrous little machine makes an excellent travel buddy and stocking stuffer this holiday season. Grab it from our Watch Store now!

Check out the new USB-C hub indicator icon in iOS

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The new USB-C hub indicator icon on the 2018 iPad Pro.
The new USB-C hub indicator icon on the 2018 iPad Pro.
Photo: Cult of Mac

When you plug a USB-C hub into your new iPad Pro, you will see a new icon appear in the iOS status bar, up on the right by the battery, Wi-Fi, and LTE status icons. It’s a little blue lozenge with an icon of an old-style Camera Connection Kit in it, and it appears for just a short moment.

The new icon is handy to let you know that your hub has been recognized, but it doesn’t always work as expected.

Roli Songmaker Kit GarageBand Edition adds touch control to Mac

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Any Songmaker Kit can be turned into the GarageBand Edition.
Any Songmaker Kit can be turned into the GarageBand Edition.
Photo: Roli

Roli makes touch-sensitive controllers for music apps, and they come in Blocks, little modular units that can be snapped together via magnets to form bigger, better controllers. They’re kind of like Transformers for music. Now, Roli will now sell you a GarageBand-friendly version of its amazing Songmaker Kit, optimized for use with the Mac version of GarageBand.

But what if you already bought a Songmaker Kit? Should you return it and buy the new one? Nope. The hardware is exactly the same, all you need is a software update.

Today we’ll see what the Songmaker Kit GarageBand Edition can do, and find out how to update your own Blocks to use it.